The PJ Tatler

Whaddya Know: Spending Restraint Prevents Tax Hikes In New York

Forget about cuts for the moment, merely keeping the rate of spending increases down works.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed on Tuesday a $136.5 billion state budget for fiscal 2014 that boosts education spending and closes a $1.3 billion gap without raising taxes.

The spending plan, which would be a 1.9 percent increase, or $2.5 billion, from the current fiscal year, must be approved by state lawmakers.

The state’s fiscal year begins April 1, three months earlier than most.

Cuomo’s proposal would increase money for education by $889 million, or 4.4 percent from current levels.

The state would save some money by keeping total spending increases below 2 percent for a third straight year. New York could save nearly $974 million because of government cost control efforts, Cuomo said.

It’s not ideal, of course, but it does counter the relentless narrative from Washington that the only way to deal with a budget crisis is to “increase revenues”, which, as we all know, is just a euphemism for “raising taxes”. Completely absent from any conversation is the fact that revenues can also be raised by something as simple as capping the rate of spending increases.

And, as any normal (read: non-Beltway) American knows, the most effective way to increase revenues is to cut spending to an amount that’s less than you’re bringing in, but math is hard for entrenched politicians.

Baby steps.